Upper School Student For The Day
Upper School Student For The Day
In order to further learn about the rewards and challenges of being an Upper School student at Kinkaid, I cleared my calendar this past Monday and followed Camille throughout her day. First, I want to thank Camille. It’s no easy assignment having the Head of School follow your every move for a full day! She is gracious, kind, and clearly a devoted student. Despite my very high energy, when 3:20 p.m. arrived, I was ready to collapse! What a great, insightful day.
Top Ten Takeaways:
10) The day revealed the richness of our Kinkaid curriculum and academic offerings. Among many stimulating opportunities and challenging topics throughout the day, Camille attended a new course, Civil Rights and the Law, and in English class, she discussed Thoreau, MLK, and civil disobedience, while learning about the Age of Jackson in AP US history.
9) I have a deeper appreciation of the expertise and dynamism of our faculty. I saw a mix of teaching pedagogy: self-directed, project-based, hands-on lab work, lecture, and more.
8) I was impressed with how much gratitude our students openly expressed to their teachers. Every class period ended with virtually every student personally thanking their teachers as they left the class.
7) Kinkaid is fast-paced! Camille and all our students put in a remarkable number of steps - mentally and physically - throughout the day. I was both intellectually stimulated and physically tired by day’s end.
6) Falcon Fuel and lunch are beloved necessities for our teenagers! While I appreciate that the medical professionals in our community will frown upon our students drinking caffeine, there is a long line for coffee during the mid-morning break (so long that I told Camille we could skip it and go to the Office of the Head of School and use our Keurig!). And lunch is not only delicious and with great variety at Kinkaid, but some of the best conversations happen in line while waiting for food.
5) The personal attention at Kinkaid is fantastic. No one falls through the cracks. Class size is small, period, but especially for a school with almost 1,500 students.
4) Meaningful connection with one’s teachers and learning support specialists happens throughout the day, outside of formal class time. This is yet further evidence of personal attention and individualized care at Kinkaid. It is very easy to see why our graduates still have meaningful relationships with their former teachers.
3) I observed meaningful use of instructional technology throughout the day, but not technology for technology’s sake. At Kinkaid, the curriculum drives technology, not the other way around.
2) The learning environment is special: while there was much focus and purpose in all work I observed, I also witnessed much humor and relaxed learning environments where students were clearly comfortable taking intellectual risks. Additionally, as an educator, I valued seeing that independent (home)work time was built into almost every one of Camille’s classes, a time for application of new knowledge and asking questions of one’s teachers.
1) We need a new Upper School! While just about everything at Kinkaid is first-class, it is indeed beyond time to update our Upper School which is housed in the original building constructed in 1957. More on our exciting, upcoming campaign soon!
I learned so much from my shadow day with Camille. But another thing I learned is just how scheduled and loaded our students' days are. After I ended my shadow day at 3:20 p.m., Camille went to math for office hours, followed by a three-hour club volleyball practice. This week alone I recorded that Camille has a lab due, a project and paper due, a photo project and critique, a creative writing assignment for Latin, an English seminar discussion, and a math test. Balancing excellence in outcomes with overall student wellness is something Kinkaid clearly should continue to examine and address.
In the near future, I look forward to an immersive day in both our Middle and Lower Schools!
Head of School